Why ITSM Solutions Are the Superheroes of Process Improvement Initiatives


As the demand for ITSM grows, so does the suite of solutions to create, deploy, manage, optimize, retire, and support IT services through their lifecycle. Onder Ozcan, senior product manager (ITSM) at Appfire, highlights best practices for successful IT service management (ITSM) programs, including automation, tracking metrics, and managing SLAs.

Today, IT and support teams are under immense pressure to support their companies’ products and services. Common challenges include finding solutions to ship faster, keeping services up and running, and delivering seamless support for both internal and external customers. Addressing these challenges is not always a walk in the park, because the way IT supports businesses and their own colleagues is fundamentally changing. Customers’ expectations continue to rise, and employees increasingly expect consumer-grade experiences for internal support, a trend that is amplified by the new normal of remote work. Therefore, IT teams have to redefine how they deliver, operate, and support services for their internal and external customers alike.

ITSM: A Powerful Ally for IT and Business Teams

IT service management (ITSM) applications reduce the time it takes to resolve an incident from start to finish, provide powerful analytics and insights, and integrate other solutions to provide immediate value, but many organizations seeking to introduce an ITSM program don’t know where to start. To avoid getting stuck with inflexible and complex systems that cause more harm than good, companies first need to embrace ITSM as a cultural change since it will impact the full organization. The following six steps will also help with successful implementation: 

1. Promote self-service: By integrating a service desk with a knowledge-based system, customers can help themselves by reusing existing articles or procedures when it comes to common requests such as fixing a VPN connection or getting a password reset.

2. Define and track service level agreements (SLAs): SLAs are contracts between service providers and their customers to ensure that the quality of service is maintained at an agreed-upon level. For example, “each P1-level production incident must be resolved in 4 hours based on a 24/7 basis.” Defining SLAs in the service design phase is critical because it can shape the software architecture and underpinning of IT services.

3. Automate processes: Most service management software solutions offer automation enhancements to remove manual, repetitive tasks by allowing teams to automate processes and workflows. For example, when an urgent incident occurs in the production system, you can send an email or Slack messages to designated groups to make them aware of the issue immediately. Or, when an ITSM support request receives a low customer satisfaction rating, an email notification can be sent to a manager to help keep track of performance. This can also be applied to other administrative areas such as HR, so when an onboarding request comes into the department’s queue, certain subtasks can be created and assigned automatically.

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4. Set out KPIs and metrics: To ensure progress with implementing an ITSM program, organizations must monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) and business metrics. Based on your business needs, it is best to determine what you need to measure,  such as incident resolution time, reopened issue rate, or issue volume trend at the start of the ITSM implementation.

5. Use the feedback loop: To understand both internal and external customers’ pain points and needs, IT teams can use automated surveys to monitor and optimize current practices. Since every detail is captured in a customer survey, including a service rating, surveys are a great tool for managers to analyze current issues and address them in a timely manner. Customer satisfaction ratings over a certain period also serve as indicators to gauge the quality of service.

6. Adopt and adapt ITSM tools for non-IT teams: As IT teams find success with ITSM solutions, they can help facilitate the adoption of these tools by other business teams, such as HR, facilities, and legal, to more easily manage and track their workflow.

Invest in Solutions That Will Help Your Company Thrive

There are numerous ITSM tools available to spin up service desk functionality and implement necessary workflows, automations, and dashboards for ITSM processes such as incident management, service request fulfillment, change management, and problem management.

For one ITSM adopter, a leading manufacturer of fasteners with more than 2,500 employees, 16 companies, and 8 production facilities in Turkey,  the company needed more flexibility with automation, SLAs, and workflows to address all of its business needs. As part of its digital transformation program, the company invested in a new ITSM platform using Jira service management (JSM) along with apps for SLA trackingOpens a new window and more, and successfully implemented incident management and service request fulfillment processes as a minimum viable product.

Digital transformation will continue to disrupt business operations and IT service management. Therefore, it is time to embrace the idea that a smart ITSM program will lead to faster value delivery, better collaboration, and improved self-service. Organizations should invest in the right technology stack, incorporate training programs to facilitate the transition, and follow best practices to improve their overall performance and productivity.

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